By Maksim Rakipaj
Memorie.al/ Maksim Rakipaj, originally from Përmet, whose family had helped and supported the Anti-Fascist National Liberation War, after graduating from the Navy School in Vlorë, in 1972 he was appointed an officer in the Merchant Navy, where he served with dedication until in 1977, on the “Durrësi” steamer, he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in political prison, as part of a “group”, which also included his colleague, Aladin Kapo, the son of Hysni Kapo’s brother. Family biography was also the reason for his punishment. After the end of the war, two of his uncles were sentenced to political prison, his grandfather was declared a kulak and in 1976, his father was expelled from the party. Maksi began serving his sentence in the Ballsh camp and in 1979, he was transferred to the Spaçi camp and then to the Qafë Bari camp. He was released on September 12, 1984, benefiting from a reduced sentence, from an amnesty. After being unemployed for a long time, with many hardships, he got a job as a miner in the Mzezet mine, he worked until 1991. After the 1991s, he started working in the administration of the Municipality of Durrës, he served until 1997 and after that, he returned to the Merchant Navy (the last captain of the transoceanic ship “Vlora”), until he left Albania for Italy, (illegally on a dinghy), where he currently lives for many years. Since the 90s, in addition to various jobs, Maksim Rakipaj has also devoted himself to writing, such as; poetry, prose, fiction or documentary, translations, etc., publishing several books, such as: ‘Prophet – Khalil Gibran’, (translation from English ‘Toena’ 2003), ’20 love poems and a song of sadness’, (translation from Spanish, ‘Toena’ 2003), ‘Alive after the shipwreck’, (published by ISKK, 2014), ‘Bukowski – poetry’, (translation from English, ‘ENEAS’, 2015), ‘Trilusa m’Tirône’, ( translation from Italian, ‘UEGEN’, 2015), ‘Anthology of Arabic-Persian Poetry’ (English translations, ‘UEGEN’, 2015), ‘The Complete Sonnets of Shakespeare’, (English translation, ‘ADA’ 2016′) , ‘Survivor’ (autobiographical novel, ‘2 East, 2 West’ 2018), ‘Nobelists – poetic anthology, (UEGEN 2019), ‘Hymn of happiness’ (‘JOZEF’ 2023), etc. From the creativity of Mr. Rakipaj, Memorie.al is publishing the book “Survivor”, (published in 2022 by “JOZEF” Publishing House in Durrës, directed by Mr. Aurel Kaçulini), where he has described his life chronologically, where the part the main one is that of serving the sentence in camps and prisons, as well as various characters, his co-sufferers that he met in the communist hell, etc.
Continues from last issue
I was watching a TV show about aliens and UFOs. I like these kinds of shows, even though they never fully solve the puzzle of aliens and their relationship with humanity. The same things are repeated, said and unsaid thousands of times. However, these types of shows continue to intrigue me. In the show I watched the last time, a hypothesis was thrown, which I have never heard before: aliens have visited our planet, since millions of years ago, they must have destroyed the dinosaurs that populated this planet to make way for a more peaceful and hospitable fauna and flora for them.
And so, it will have happened. The dinosaurs disappeared, today hardly any of their bones can be found, while the earth was populated with the species that live on this planet today. Ah… from their crossing with the first primitive people, today’s “homosapiens” were born. According to this hypothesis, today, planet earth is like a kind of laboratory and zoo for powerful extraterrestrial beings. They are constantly watching us; in the beginning they taught us how to start a fire, they taught us to invent the wheel and many other miracles. Even the strange climate changes, the increase or decrease of glaciers, were nothing but the work of aliens. There is another, more conspiratorial theory: they, the aliens, must have some kind of agreement with the giants of our globe!
This last thesis brings to mind the fate of our homeland, Albania, the natural one – Great Albania and this small Albania, London Albania, with an even smaller sister, Kosovo, and two or three other even smaller sisters, Chameria, Macedonia, Montenegro, which the powerful “aliens” have separated from each other, according to their pleasure. And indeed, Albania before the 90s was a kind of experimental garden for those “aliens”. After they cut the fragile body of Albania in four, after they made fun of the small state, they created during the Second World War and after it, they left us completely in oblivion. Albania did not exist for them.
Our great writer, Ismail Kadare, says proudly in an interview given to an Italian magazine: “Tirana did not exist for you, not even in your meteorological bulletins”! It’s true, it doesn’t exist yet. The hard years of communism passed, harder than in any other country that experimented with “real socialism”. At first, the other socialist states were saved: East Germany, Poland (the Pope was Polish), Hungary, etc…! In the end, Albania. As always, the last…! From the beginning of 1990, we began to feel “the wind of changes”. The miracle happened.
In Tirana, there was an evening dedicated to the Beatles, but not a word about those who were put in prison because of their music. Aliens began to show interest in their experimental garden. One of the chiefs of the “aliens” came to Tirana, the head of the UN himself, Mr. Perez de Quellar, met with President Ramiz Alia, asked him that our country should respect “human rights”. Ramizi told him that; there are no political prisoners in Albania, de Quellari agreed and congratulated him. Only 6 months later, political prisoners were released from prisons.
A year before that, one of the UN bodies decorated our country with a rare medal, as the country with the best food in the world! A year later, Ramiz Alia was declared the man of the year by an English university! Are you saying they decided to make fun of us, like they always do? We were really going; “from victory to victory”, how do you say enver vampiri…?! A group of “alien” lawyers, human rights specialists also came. The state RTV gave their meeting with Ramiz. I also saw this group in Durrës, in the days of the exodus…! “Come on Makso, speak some English with these people”, said the comic from Durrës, Fadil Hasa. I approached, most of them were Cypriot lawyers, Greeks, some Finns, who looked around confused, while the others were Slovenians and Serbs. One of them approached me and introduced herself: “I am Tanja!”
– “I’m glad, Tanja. Where are you from”?
– “I am from Belgrade”.
– “Ah, I understood, thank you. I saw you last night on TV. Good day, Tanja”.
– “I’m sorry, why are you leaving?! Now that I found a man, I can talk to…?!
– “You have nothing to discuss with me, lady. You are a Serb and if you are here for the protection of human rights, you have plenty to do there, in your Yugoslavia, where for a century or so, the Kosovar Albanians have been massacred by the Serbs”.
– “I am telling you that I am a friend of Albanians and…”! etc., etc.
It was the second exodus, the one in March 1991, after the event of the embassies, everything “ala Fidel Castro”. But in the meantime, the creation of opposition parties had begun. The first, the Ecological Party with the famous Namik Vehbi Fadile Hoti, followed by the DP, the PR, etc.. The establishment of the Democratic Party was also welcomed by Ibrahim Rugova, who also gave an interview in the newspaper “Drita” where he said that he was quite happy about that event and especially (!) that at the head of the DP, there were no political prisoners…!
It’s okay, even the great ones go astray sometimes. I don’t want to say that being a “former political prisoner” should be a pass for any post, but I am absolutely against the opposite being applied. But this was taken into account and taken care of very diligently by the leadership of the Democratic Party.
In March ’91, the first pluralist elections were expected to take place in our country. Ambassador Ryerson was quite active in supporting the opposition. But it wasn’t long before he got his own driver, as the holder of the American embassy, he took the driver of the criminal Enver Hoxha…!
At the big rally in Tirana, in honor of our great friend James Baker, so many people had not gathered since Stalin died. The great friend, openly shows his support, when on the right side, takes Prof. Dr. Sali Berisha. The powerful have made their choice.
Gramoz Pashko, I said something about a blank check. James Baker proves it: he promises only three million dollars in food aid, from the reserves of the US Army. APS won the elections again. After a year, the PD is re-voted and wins convincingly. Former political prisoners, internees, strongly supported him; in the DP, they saw their hope for a better life.
I followed and actively participated in all the events that preceded pluralism in our country, since I was working in the Gërdec mine and then, when, in order to survive, I gave private lessons. Surprisingly, since 1986, my grandmother began to be interested in her properties and those of her cousins, in Korça, Tirana and Durrës. “Bad mother, soon the day will come and we will get our property, enough of the prisons and mines, we will also see a white day”. But she closed her eyes in December ’89, with all her dreams and ours of a “white day”. Already in the summer of ’90, people began to whisper: “Look, when September comes, the students return and big riots are expected.”
Riot by students?! Of the sons of those with refined biographies? Something was wrong here. I heard many of these rumors from suspicious people, spies of the Branch, and from some girls and boys who, until yesterday, were part of the AGBV group (Members of Voluntary Cooperation Groups), which in our neighborhood was led by a “prosecutor popular” of the time, A. Meçe. I remembered some of their faces following me since before the arrest in 1977, but in those days, I saw them quite active in the demonstrations that took place in Durrës. It was not known who organized them. Even today, this thing remains a puzzle to me…?!
In the beginning, words were heard: “You heard, today there will be a demonstration in Durrës”. People gathered in crowds in front of the Palace of Culture, where they always found armed soldiers and policemen with batons and suits, armored cars and fire engines on standby, protecting the Party Committee in particular.
Durrsaks are generally prudent and wise people. I did not think that there would be acts of hooliganism and clashes with the police, in those demonstrations I actually saw a lot of intellectuals participating, but in the first row, in the group of those who screamed in front of the police, I did not recognize anyone. They push and insult the policemen with unprecedented courage and I did not understand the reason for this irritation. The fight began and the group of “rebels” disappeared as if swallowed by the earth, while the batons of the policemen shot over the heads of the peacekeepers of the second and third rows, who did not understand anything and ran away through the alleys. Groups of soldiers were waiting for them there, prepared for a fight, and the chaos continued until late at night.
Shop windows began to be broken. The police did not stop any of the perpetrators, but arrested Q. Thanas, who was trying to stop the breaking and destruction, being told: “Don’t, carry, don’t break, don’t destroy”! I saw with my own eyes how the police laid him on the ground and kicked and batoned him, before slamming him into the armored police car. Demonstrations started in the morning. There was word that the Port would be opened and the ships that were there would send the people to Italy. Word spread that Ramizi had agreed with the Italian government to send about 20,000 refugees there. The “rebels” were not satisfied with the prudence of the Durrsaks: “You have to name me. They don’t open the port with beggars. You have to break me, burn me, how do these know”…! The police, surprisingly, seemed more lenient.
People in Durrës have been added. There were many new faces from other cities as well. Armed men stood above the building of the City Hall and the Labor Party Committee. They shot over people’s heads. A young man from Librazhdi was killed, he was not even 20 years old. He was the son of a family that was called “outclass”, the snipers knew who they were killing. The port was finally opened and people poured in innumerable numbers, got into the ships and what happened then we all know. This time too the the dragon took the blood tax.
A few months ago, the friends I had in NIsh – Goma told me that Lenka Çuko, a member of the Political Bureau of the PPSh, had gone there, who, as “wise and erudite”, spoke about the international situation, i.e. , made spray – spray, like ducks for a couple of hours. After that, the district prosecutor, Alush M., took the floor, who had openly threatened: “We took this power with blood, and you should know that we will not let it go without blood”! But in the meantime, the road to pluralism was opened, our hope was born: the Democratic Party.
In the snap election in March ’92, she won the election by a landslide. Ramiz Alia resigned, Speaker of the Parliament, a veteran of political prisons, Pjetër Arbnori, was elected. There was every chance that everything would go well. Several former political prisoners were elected MPs. Our dreams were coming true. A democratic Albania, without bloodshed like in Romania. No bleeding?! And those dozens killed at the border, during the 90s, when by law crossing the border without a permit was only called; back and forth?!
What about the four killed in Shkodra?! What about those killed in Tirana?! However, those who defended Ramiz seemed to have forgotten that it was Ramiz Alia, the one who sharpened the knives of the Serbian butchers who slaughtered thousands of Kosovar boys in Tivar. But let me not worry, now there was law, there was a democratic state, which punished criminals, based on the law. Finally, we no longer belonged to the infamous socialist camp. The slogan that was heard in the rallies was: “Make Albania, like all of Europe”
Us and the aliens
…There are several types or races of aliens, according to some TV shows, some of them are gray. These are very bad; some of them are green, they say they are friendly to the human race. They say that there are some of them, who are able to transform and look like us. There is also a classification of human contact with aliens, which is divided by degrees.
The first degree, is when you see them from afar in flight, with those flying discs of theirs; the second when you see them up close and the third degree, when you talk, talk with them, or what is called “abduction”, i.e., abduction by aliens. One of these “aliens” has also written a book about our race, the Albanians, a book about the English missions in Albania, during the Second World War with the title; “Bitter Victory”.
Another has written an interesting book entitled; “King Zog and efforts for stability in Albania”. There are others who have written as well, I don’t know if they are gray or green “aliens”. However, in these and other books, one learns what the gray “aliens” have done to us. But they never say everything; that war still continues and our fate remains undefined. I think that the fault is not only ours, because as one of them says, in the introduction; “Albanians always find fault with others and never with themselves”.
So even I, as the Albanian that I am, like to find more fault with them and not with us! One of our misfortunes is that when the last war between the “aliens” ended and they divided the spoils of war, unfortunately for us, they designated us as one of the trophies they gave to the Great, Red Alien and we blushed, just like them, even a little more. I seek to find them in the European “aliens”, who do not approach us in Europe and forget that it was Emperor Constantine, of Illyrian origin, who made Christianity, today’s official European religion, a state religion.
Or in the “aliens”, Turks who came from Asia, that if they had not fought with the Albanians for over 30 years, most of today’s European parliamentarians would be circumcised…!
The victory of the DP in the 1992 elections was a great joy for us. Day and night, television, newspapers, spoke and wrote only against communism; political opponents were labeled as; Enverists, Ramizists or crypto-communists. The political prisoners were recognized as completely innocent and there was talk of their compensation. In conversations with my friends, democrats or not, I used to say that; among the first things I expected from the democratic government were: the denunciation of the decisions of the Përmet Congress of May 24, 1944, the opening of the files of communism and the PPSh archives, as well as the public trial of the crimes of Enver Hoxha and the party his, to be finally separated from the past.
For me, this did not mean sending the communist nomenclature to prison. I didn’t want to see people in prison for their political beliefs. I wanted them to go to prison, only those who stained their hands with the blood of Albanians. I didn’t know that the powerful “aliens” had introduced their “robots” among us, working for them, and today I feel insulted, offended. Every year that passes, it takes quite a few of us with it… how many will be left in 5 years?! Property has been discussed, but this is a very broad topic, it takes several books to describe it.
About 20 years ago, I saw a wonderful Italian film, with Claudia Cardinale and the great Bekim Fehmiu, entitled “Libera, my beloved”. The story of an Italian girl, communist and partisan, who fought fascism as best she could, with all her strength and with weapons. The war is over and Libera goes to the housing office to look for a house. The war is over, man has to work and live somewhere to live. But to the surprise of our heroine, in the housing office, she finds the former secretary of the Fascist Party.
Outraged, she leaves his office and goes to complain to her party’s offices. The head of the party gave him this answer: “Dear Libera, understand, the war is already over.” This is Italy, half fascist and half communist. Now we have the task of rebuilding Italy. These who we are. Do you understand me?! Are we going to rebuild it, or are we going to start the war all over again?!
I would very much agree with that chairman, if the same thing had happened to us. If only in our housing offices, you could find ex-communists. But in our country, the one who led the poet Havzi Nela to the rope, for many years, was the president of the Constitutional Court! My investigator, since he arrested me, introduced himself to me as a State Security officer, became a member of the Supreme Council of Justice! Judge Ermir Dobjani, who sentenced my friend, Asllan Togu, became the People’s Advocate!
Prosecutor Breca, who sentenced who knows how many people by shooting, not only for the incident at the Soviet embassy, was awarded a high decoration by former President Bamir Topi! Maybe that “alien” writer is right, that; we Albanians always find fault with others?! I can’t forget that the “aliens” are watching everything, any of them can read what I’m writing. God save us from “abduction”! We have these among us, they act like us, they supposedly work for us, but in fact, they work only for Them and for their own pocket. Memorie.al
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